Recommend
35 
 Thumb up
 Hide
14 Posts

Eldritch Horror» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A comparative review (with focus on Solo) rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Ark Atreides
msg tools
mbmbmb
First of all this review is heavily biased on solo play experience. I played AH a lot, both with multiple players and solo - recently much much more solo as having moved to Hong Kong I no longer have my usual crowd of people to play with. I have only played EH solo so far, so cannot say how it would compare against AH with multiple players.

Having said that, even when I solo AH, I almost always play with 4 investigators. I tried any number between 1 and 4 (with different house rules to make the difficulty scale better) but always found that the game lacked in immersion with anything less than 4. You just don't get the same story with just two characters (usually one in the Other World while the other ones is running around in Arkham collecting clues/items and mopping up monsters). For me the story only really unfolds when I have four, each specialized, each assigned to a task, all of them occasionally meeting each other, trading items etc.

However, having to play with 4 investigators means that solo games are very drawn out and I don't have the luxury of having a spare room/table to leave the board on, so the games always have to end in one sitting. This means that while I usually have an absolute blast playing the start, the game starts to drag towards the end, and I often find myself racing through the last few rounds (and sometimes even "calling" it, e.g. having closed 4 gates with a good set of items and not too many monsters, I could call it a technical win). The problem is that it is the end when the game really starts developing, when my investigators start having all the cool gear, and racing through will often result in mistakes (forgetting to all the little rules) just because there is so much to keep track of. So I often feel a bit underwhelmed by a session. But I always come back for more ...

When AH first came out, I knew I had to have it.

When EH was first announced I cared little about it - in fact I hated it as it looked like a watered down version of AH, and it clearly looked like the new focus in the Mythos universe was going to be on EH (not that AH needed another expansion, nor was I expecting one). I dislike Elder Sign, because it is too simple, too random and doesn't really make me feel like I am part of the setting. EH looked like a half-way house between AH and ES and just felt a bit anemic. Money gone?!? Sliders gone!?! Fewer locations, no Other Worlds ... It all just sounded like AH for dummies.

However, as more information came out I felt drawn to it and eventually succumbed to ordering it. I wont talk about components because they are just as great as in AH, and other people commented on this at length. What I will talk about is how the first play session felt.

Setup: This took less time than AH, which was great (as said before, my games have to finish within one session) and setting up 4 investigators without all the little fiddly bits like money, half a dozen of random/fixed items, sliders, etc. meant I was ready to roll much faster. This was a definite plus, but I could immediately see that this was just a consequence of there being less 'meat' in EH.

First few turns: Ok, so I have 4 guys all over the board, setting up the Old One, and suddenly realize it is not all just about closing gates. Yes, I read this before buying the game, and yes I knew this, but it didn't actually strike me until the first Mystery card was there in front of me. This was a tailor-made quest ... suddenly it felt like a completely new game. I don't know, but something just happened which suddenly made the mission so much more exciting. I wanted to solve the mystery, to see what the next one would be, to see ... more.

Middle Game: The other thing that struck me was the level of immersion. I found it felt much more realistic than AH and it is hard to pinpoint why. Maybe it is the fact that AH doesn't feel like you are saving the world, more like you are defending Arkham the city from an invasion. EH really feels like you are defending the world from destruction, gathering clues all over the place, finding old relics scattered around the globe. There is something much more vivid about sending an investigator to the Heart of Africa than sending them to the Unvisited Isle or the Woods. Yes, there could be a few more cities on the board, but the Wilderness locations (and sea to some extend, especially when playing against Cthulhu) are what really makes this game stand out as a completely different experience. Rather than rummaging through buildings in a city (why did nobody else find those items before?) we go and dig things up. It feels very Indiana Jones like.

End game: For once I actually paced myself all the way through and had a blast to the end. My investigators kept getting more powerful, but not as powerful as they could potentially get in AH, but it was all still very manageable. Even though this was my first play-through I think I made fewer mistakes than in a typical AH game (where I know the rules inside out): I didn't forget to add +1s to skill checks, because the skill bonuses were directly visible on the investigator card (and not scattered over multiple skill cards). I didn't have to deal with all the little things like monsters in the outskirts, sky, etc. And more importantly it never became repetitive, and was still telling a story till the end.

All in all, having played 4 run throughs now, I think EH, for me, is a better 4 investigator solo experience than AH. I still love AH, and would never trade it away, and likely will come back to it again and again, but EH is just more enjoyable as a solo experience.

Verdict: 9.5/10
63 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Oleg volobujev
msg tools
mbmb
Cool review! i agree 100%. only one think need to add: with expansion this game potential will overcome AH very quickly in my Opinion.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Poczet Herbut
Poland
Warsaw
flag msg tools
How would you rate replayability of EH compared to AH with just the base sets? Won't EH get boring faster after you'll know most of the cards?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
reaching out from the in-between spaces...
United States
Baldwin
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Punnuf wrote:
How would you rate replayability of EH compared to AH with just the base sets? Won't EH get boring faster after you'll know most of the cards?


No. The difficulty in base AH is learning all the rules. Once you get the rules down pat, your win rate goes from like 25% to 75%. The challenge disappears. This is because the whole point of the game is geared towards closing and SEALING gates.

When a gate opens, a monster spawns. Monsters move and can create choke points. If you have too many gates open, the AO awakens and you can lose pretty quickly. If a card calls for a gate to open where a gate is already open, than you get a monster surge (more monsters, more points choked off). If you close and SEAL a gate, nothing happens when you draw a card calling for a gate opening at that location. No gate opens. No monster. No monster surge. Nothing.

Here's the catch:

Their are certain locations that have a higher chance of gates opening. When you learn which locations these are (which will happen over the course of playing the game a few times while learning the rules, assuming you just don't learn it from the geek), and you seal these locations, the game slows way down and you have a lot of time to win the game. The pressure is off, so too is the replay ability. The expansions, however, have fixed this in various ways.

Jorune
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex Villanova
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
My main issues with Arkham Horror are 1) you have the same gameplan in every game (close and seal gates) no matter which GOO you are going against and 2) the game gets easier as the investigators are doing better, which makes it so the hardest part of the game is the first hour and makes it possible for the next couple of hours to be an anti-climactic slog as you manage to gather clues and seal the rest of the other gates without any threat at all.

EH solves the first problem through mysteries, unique AOO research encounters, and the effects the AOO has on the game. It also solves the second problem by making gates very important to close, but does not actually make them the objective of the game so even if you do a good job closing the gates, you haven't actually progressed the win condition. The various rumors and pre-set mythos deck help address this problem as well.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stoodster
United States
Santa Barbara
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Jorune wrote:
Here's the catch:

Their are certain locations that have a higher chance of gates opening. When you learn which locations these are (which will happen over the course of playing the game a few times while learning the rules, assuming you just don't learn it from the geek), and you seal these locations, the game slows way down and you have a lot of time to win the game. The pressure is off, so too is the replay ability. The expansions, however, have fixed this in various ways.

The problem with gate bursts is that they undo some of your progress, making an already long game even longer. For us, adding gate bursts made the game a bit of a slog. But without them, the game was too easy and boring. Separating victory from gate sealing was a great idea in EH. It allows the tension to constantly increase throughout the game and provides the players with more difficult choices. This change alone was enough for me to switch over to EH.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
mateo jurasic
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
adding innsmouth solves all concerns that AH was too easy... The more gates you have sealed, the more likely Innsmouth's deep one rising track triggers bringing you closer to the AO awakening, and with the added locations, you are more likely to get more gates and more monsters. I have never felt AH was too easy when I used Innsmouth, and in fact, whenever I think we are doing great... thats when all hell breaks loose.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stoodster
United States
Santa Barbara
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
mateooo wrote:
adding innsmouth solves all concerns that AH was too easy...

I never tried Innsmouth. I'll have to give it a shot some time.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ark Atreides
msg tools
mbmbmb
Glaurung2 wrote:
Cool review! i agree 100%. only one think need to add: with expansion this game potential will overcome AH very quickly in my Opinion.


Thanks!

Yes I agree with the expansions. I didn't go into it in the review, but it feels that the deck sizes are smaller than in vanilla AH, which means the same cards come up more often right now. So far in my playthroughs this hasn't been too much of an issue, but clearly there will come a time when I know what to expect. Having another couple of mystery cards per AO would definitely make this game much more replayable while keeping the original suspense factor.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ark Atreides
msg tools
mbmbmb
preptime wrote:
My main issues with Arkham Horror are 1) you have the same gameplan in every game (close and seal gates) no matter which GOO you are going against and 2) the game gets easier as the investigators are doing better, which makes it so the hardest part of the game is the first hour and makes it possible for the next couple of hours to be an anti-climactic slog as you manage to gather clues and seal the rest of the other gates without any threat at all.

EH solves the first problem through mysteries, unique AOO research encounters, and the effects the AOO has on the game. It also solves the second problem by making gates very important to close, but does not actually make them the objective of the game so even if you do a good job closing the gates, you haven't actually progressed the win condition. The various rumors and pre-set mythos deck help address this problem as well.


Yes this really nails it on the head - that's why many of my AH playthroughs never get completed. I can predict fairly well after the first hour or so whether I will win or not, and from then on it's just a matter of going through the motions which, as you say, is quite anti-climactic. Sure there have been games where there was a bit change of fortunes but mostly it becomes very predictable once the investigators are all tooled up and have control over the board (i.e. have sealed the high frequency gates). I had one session where two investigators got devoured due to random encounter luck. This set me back, but it was clear I was still going to win, and all it did was to add another 30mins or so to the game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jian W
Malaysia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Arkatreides wrote:
All in all, having played 4 run throughs now, I think EH, for me, is a better 4 investigator solo experience than AH. I still love AH, and would never trade it away, and likely will come back to it again and again, but EH is just more enjoyable as a solo experience.



Do you still feel that 4 investigators are required for you to have the full immersive experience? Or has Eldritch Horror changed that?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Enon Sci
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
nevhirion wrote:
Arkatreides wrote:
All in all, having played 4 run throughs now, I think EH, for me, is a better 4 investigator solo experience than AH. I still love AH, and would never trade it away, and likely will come back to it again and again, but EH is just more enjoyable as a solo experience.



Do you still feel that 4 investigators are required for you to have the full immersive experience? Or has Eldritch Horror changed that?


Doesn't sound like he has tried.

On a lark I tried a single investigator, something I could never imagine being successful in AH, and was blow away (*B*L*O*W*N away!) at how enjoyably manageable it was. The game was tense, but approachable. It was no cake walk; I went through three investigators by the end, yet the potential for a win came right down to the wire. Amazing. Tense. Enjoyable.

Still, I'd run at least two or three normally.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David
New Zealand
Auckland
flag msg tools
badge
May the Great Spirit Bless all who read this.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My sweet spot so far is solo with two investigators, the intrepid Norm Withers and Trish Scarborough. Great solo game this one.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nicola Zee
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Snowman wrote:
My sweet spot so far is solo with two investigators, the intrepid Norm Withers and Trish Scarborough. Great solo game this one.

Yes - this is my favourite combo for playing solo against Azathoth. At the start, Trish gains assets with debts - Norm concentrates on improving his skills.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.